AuthorTopic: Lets talk about the dress  (Read 12803 times)

Offline Indigo

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Lets talk about the dress

on: February 27, 2015, 08:40:42 pm
Okay, so you guys have probably seen this all over the internet by now.  I thought this would be easily explainable through color contrast theory.  But try as I might, I simply cannot get myself to see the black and blue.  I've tried dumping it into Photoshop to change the background color, change the exposure, inverse the colors, absolutely everything I can think of - but I still can only see the dress and white and gold.

If you're not familiar with what I'm talking about, it's all about this dress:


Some people absolutely see this dress and black and blue, and others see it as absolutely white and gold.  I'm in the latter camp.

If you don't believe me that this is even a debate, it's even on CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/26/us/blue-black-white-gold-dress/

So three questions:
  • What colors do you see
  • Why are we perceiving them differently
  • Is it possible to reverse how we percieve it

EDIT one explanation:
http://www.wired.com/2015/02/science-one-agrees-color-dress/
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 08:48:50 pm by Indigo »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #1 on: February 27, 2015, 09:05:33 pm
Some facts: The actual dress is black and blue, the picture was taken with a really shitty camera of phone.

As far as the colours that I see in the picture: Brown and light blue. If you do not know that the colours in the picture are totally of then the light blue could be seen as reflected light or something.

The actual RGB values when checked are brown and desaturated blues.

I personally do not see how anyone could see the brown parts as black in that picture.

As far as photoshop goes. If you do levels on it and use the black value colour picker and select the darker browning colours you will get what the dress actually looks like IRL, black and blue. That does not change the fact that there is nothing that is black in the image.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline yaomon17

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #2 on: February 27, 2015, 09:06:16 pm

Offline Indigo

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #3 on: February 27, 2015, 09:18:42 pm
As far as the colours that I see in the picture: Brown and light blue.

I'm not asking what literal colors you see - That's easily brown and light blue.  I'm asking what color identity you perceptually see the dress as.  And a follow up - what adjustments can be done to the image to flip your perception of that color identity - ideally without altering the colors of the dress itself, but just the context (because it seems to straddle the very thin line for what people perceive).
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 09:20:16 pm by Indigo »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #4 on: February 27, 2015, 09:28:46 pm
yaomon: That does not work on good monitors.

Indigo: Dull brownish gold and white/maybe light blue.

What adjustments can be done, I don't know. And I don't know if I care. I see the image as it is and make no assumptions about what colours the dress might actually be, because I do not see how that is important. It's a shitty photo of a dress. It's nothing I will lose sleep over.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Indigo

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #5 on: February 27, 2015, 09:32:28 pm
Indigo: Dull brownish gold and white/maybe light blue.

What adjustments can be done, I don't know. And I don't know if I care. I see the image as it is and make no assumptions about what colours the dress might actually be, because I do not see how that is important. It's a shitty photo of a dress. It's nothing I will lose sleep over.

You're totally missing the art implications.  Understanding how people perceive color - especially in situations like this where people get such drastically different results - is EXTREMELY valuable to understanding art.  You're simply being mr contrarian again and being too literal.  You, as an artist, totally understand the value of color perception and color relationships.

Edit:
One interesting thing about the colors, which may or may not be related to how people perceive the color identity, is the fact that the colors of the stripes are nearly PERFECT inverses of eachother.  Invert the image, and the stripes are nearly the same.

Here's an image to simplify the discussion:


« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 09:37:00 pm by Indigo »

Offline yaomon17

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #6 on: February 27, 2015, 09:34:49 pm
wut you say about me monitor m8?
Anyway, this was posted by ChrisConlon on reddit:


Dr. Stephen McLeod thinks it is similar to colorblindness tests of red-green deficiency, just a lot more sensitive. Like this type of thing:


And of course, there are other varibles like maybe monitor quality and room lighting.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #7 on: February 27, 2015, 09:45:44 pm
Indigo: I am not trying to be contrarian. The thing is, that if I do not percieve something in a certain way, I will not try and guess what people will percieve, in how I make my art. Of course there are things like relative contrast and all that which I do take into account and like to play with. But that is neither here nor there in this case.

I can not force myself to see an RGB value that is not there (even though the actual dress is that colour).
I give you that it is interesting that some people seem to be able to extrapolate the actual colour of the dress from this photo, but it would be nice to get some actual scientific stuff on this. Not people guessing.

What I am saying is, that as long as I can not somehow flip a switch in my brain to change my colour perception. And if I can not do that I wont try to guess what other people might see when they look at my art to actually do stuff like this intentionally.

Also, please do not always just assume that I am being contrarian for the sake of it just because I might not happen to agree with you. It is really intellectually lazy.

yaomon:

That comparison is a good example of relative colour perception and how things are influenced by light and shadow.
The actual dress is a lot more blue and black though than the "black dress" there, which I would still say is very dark brown and mid blue.

Some people have reported that when they showed people the dress on the same monitor, they got different results. So while that might play a role, I think that how people are "trained" to see colours play a bigger role.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 09:49:06 pm by ptoing »
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Probo

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #8 on: February 27, 2015, 09:54:00 pm
yeah it looks like a white and gold dress in a cold, dim light source to me. people who see black and blue are colour blind right?? or am i???

Offline surt

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #9 on: February 27, 2015, 09:54:56 pm
I don't get it. I think I'll just put this down as another reason to despise humanity/internet.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 10:45:32 pm by surt »

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #10 on: February 27, 2015, 09:55:51 pm
monitor tilt and calibration explains a lot here. Especially considering smartphones.
second thing which plays in is the strong yellowish light - most probably caused by the crappy camera lense - which changes all colors on the image.
Third thing which might play in is a persons observational knowledge how colors look under certain light scenarios - means if a person tells what they are seeing on the image or if they are telling you what color they see based on what they know of reality - just by calculating the lights back to the color they think it has.

There are 3 different instances which can throw one of which colors there might actually be.
Like ptoing said, if you measure it it's blue and light brown.
Yaomons exampole there with yellow light and blue shadow explains a lot.

A great artist once said that a color on it's own can be measured. But once there is a second color both colors are differently percepted by the eye.
Means we get a different impression on different color combos while a color on it's own is very clear.
The reason for that is also simple to expain - the biological limitations of the anatomy of the eye.
(and also to consider... lots of eyes don't work they way they should. Look at all the color blindness and ametropic diseases (?))

If there are many colors the eye doesn't perceive all of them at once - there are many more optical illusions which use exactly the contrast/color effects.
Lots of optical illusions can be easily seen through.
This is not different from any other optical illusion playing with contrasts and lights.
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Offline Ryumaru

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #11 on: February 27, 2015, 09:58:19 pm
I'm partially red green colorblind and when I first saw this image, it was definitively white/ gold for me. Then after researching a couple websites I saw the comparisons and such, and was able to see how it could be perceived as blue/ black. NOW whenever I look at it, I can ONLY really see blue/ black ( I wonder if this is because I have now seen the picture confirming it's blue/ black nature?). I also wonder if through compression from reposting etc if the rgb values may have been changed ( or people have tampered to prove their side).

Quite a weird conundrum on color and perception to say the least.

Offline Mr. Fahrenheit

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #12 on: February 27, 2015, 09:59:20 pm
I saw black and blue first and did everytime except for one time which for a single second I saw it as gold and white, which was frreaky but its back to good old blue and black.

Offline 32

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #13 on: February 27, 2015, 10:01:50 pm
I am the same as ptoing on this. I thought the argument was kinda stupid at first for the same reason. In my mind I just think, well it's an IMAGE of a light blue dress with browny-goldish stripes. If you're asking what colour I think the dress is in reality I would say light blue and black. I cannot perceive it as either the colours the dress is in reality or as white and gold. I think it was clear to me that the stripes were black after I ignored the right half of the image where it gets particularly gold and I was like "oh yes I have seen black materials reflect colour that way." I think this is more akin to an optical illusion than something that is going to be necessary to be aware of as an artist.

Offline DawnBringer

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #14 on: February 27, 2015, 10:04:01 pm
Note that the clothes in the background are black (darker RGB than the dress) and in apparantly more light than the dress. The soft shadows on dress indicates it is not lit by any strong light (but maybe very yellow). Anyways, the picture (RGB-values) shows a goldish-brown and whitish-blue dress regardless of what produced the result. And there doesn't seem to be anything substantial in the image to offset that color-perception.
But yeah, I would like to know how anyone can perceive this as black & blue.  Maybe it has something to do with monitor brightness/contrast? Viewed a bit darker or with higher contrast it may appear more blue/black. And then you have a potential problem with common people playing quick and loose with color-terminology. Let's find a few blue-blackers and test them! :D

Offline Probo

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #15 on: February 27, 2015, 10:06:59 pm
maybe the brain is also taking cues from other elements in the picture? the dress looks like it is hidden away from the bright yellow lightsource in the background, like its in a darker area of the shop. my brain assumes the lighting conditions, so assumes the colour?

Offline lachrymose

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #16 on: February 27, 2015, 10:07:25 pm
Not sure whats going on here.
All I see is a white and gold dress. No other sites, monitors or devices show me otherwise.

Offline Indigo

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #17 on: February 27, 2015, 10:14:43 pm
Also, please do not always just assume that I am being contrarian for the sake of it just because I might not happen to agree with you. It is really intellectually lazy.

Fair enough, probably wasn't fair of me to throw out so fast.  It was the phrase "And I don't know if I care" that is truly intellectually lazy and caused me to assume you were being contrarian.  For an artist to claim they don't care how color identity is perceived and why, was absolutely silly to me.  I couldn't see how you can hold that view without being intentionally contrarian/literal.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #18 on: February 27, 2015, 10:20:36 pm
I can see that. And of course I care about stuff like relative colour perception. But this discussion was happening on twitter and other places and it was just getting very silly very fast. It is a photo taken with a super shitty camera.

And yeah, I am fairly sure that it is mostly about assumptions we make about the blue and such, as stated in the wired article, which is quite interesting.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Indigo

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #19 on: February 27, 2015, 10:28:41 pm
It is a photo taken with a super shitty camera.

It seems the illusion goes well beyond context of a shitty camera.  I created this image and showed it to some people who saw the dress and blue and black, and they still saw the colors as blue and black even though all context was removed and there is no longer anything to suggest a color identity besides the literal colors on the screen (which are definitely not blue and black).  Even when showing the inversed colors, they still cannot see anything but the black and blue stripes - probably partly because they had already made the decision in their mind when they saw the original dress.

« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 10:30:18 pm by Indigo »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #20 on: February 27, 2015, 10:32:32 pm
What would be interesting to me is how working on a computer making digital art, and esp pixelart, where you get super familiar with the colour sliders, changes your perception of colours. I reckon you might go towards seeing things more like they appear and lose part of what they actually might look like. That kinda stuff is very hard to test though. But that would be one interesting aspect.
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Offline surt

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #21 on: February 27, 2015, 10:44:13 pm
(which are definitely not blue and black).
Definitely is (low saturation) blue.

The light background + bloom suggests washed out from over exposure.
The dark background + edge shadowing suggests washed out from backlighting.

Offline Indigo

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #22 on: February 27, 2015, 10:50:40 pm
(which are definitely not blue and black).
Definitely is (low saturation) blue.

The light background + bloom suggests washed out from over exposure.
The dark background + edge shadowing suggests washed out from backlighting.

I was using the logical "AND" not "or" - but yes the blue is blue.  Not sure what you mean about the dark background backlighting argument, can you elaborate?
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 10:56:09 pm by Indigo »

Offline PsylentKnight

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #23 on: February 27, 2015, 11:14:01 pm
I was *very* skeptical at first. At first I saw black and blue. I didn't get it. I thought people were saying white and gold just to mess with people.

I went back to the same page later. It was white and gold then. At this point I was certain they were switching the images, so I saved it on my computer to call them on their bullshit the next time they switched it.

This morning I opened up their page and it was black and blue again. Whelp, time to open up my image and solve this once and for all... but lo and behold it was black and blue too.

I'm a believer now.
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Offline 0xDB

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #24 on: February 27, 2015, 11:23:58 pm
I created this image...
Both sides appear to be exactly the same to me (except for the background change and the sequence switch in the stripes).

In the original dress image, I see an ochre/brown/yellow tinted gray and a pale blue tinted gray.

I tried to change my perception of it by changing context (as it has been suggested) and orientation but I still see the same colors in every context and in each orientation.



On the question why people perceive it differently I have no idea other than a vague "because nature creates countless mutations so people are not all the same".

Offline yaomon17

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #25 on: February 27, 2015, 11:35:22 pm
I created this image...
-snipernoo-

Oddly enough, I always see white/gold on the larger picture but I think shrinking it down has me always seeing black/blue

Offline PsylentKnight

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #26 on: February 27, 2015, 11:54:07 pm


On the question why people perceive it differently I have no idea other than a vague "because nature creates countless mutations so people are not all the same".

But then why would some people see it differently at different times (like me)? I think it might have to do with how our eyes are adjusted.
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Offline 0xDB

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #27 on: February 28, 2015, 12:11:29 am
On the question why people perceive it differently I have no idea other than a vague "because nature creates countless mutations so people are not all the same".
But then why would some people see it differently at different times (like me)? I think it might have to do with how our eyes are adjusted.
Maybe the current balance in the brain chemistry has an influence on it as well ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin#mediaviewer/File:NorepinephrineDopamineSerotonin.png ). Sugar, caffeine? The possibilities on what "could" have an influence on the perception seem limitless and these influences do not necessarily have to be found outside of the body in things like lighting conditions or differences in hardware and viewing angle. Even the current mood could probably influence what we see (but that is brain chemistry as well).

edit: Now that I wrote that about the sugar and the caffeine I remember one instance where sugar and caffeine and maybe even salt changed my perception and that of a friend. We had a LAN party a few years ago where we both drank many liters of cola (sugar and caffeine), ate french fries with too much salt (we had a silly competition going where we dared each other to take more salt). On the wall was a blue neon light and at some point I looked at the light and it was green(despite being actually blue) and I asked my friend whether he noticed anything different about the light and he said "yes, it is green".
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 12:21:58 am by Dennis »

Offline Seiseki

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #28 on: February 28, 2015, 12:18:56 am
It is a photo taken with a super shitty camera.

I  I created this image and showed it to some people who saw the dress and blue and black, and they still saw the colors as blue and black.

It actually changed it for me.. I can obviously see that it's slightly blue, but nowhere near the original image. The gold doesn't look nearly dark enough to pass as black though.
This stuff is crazy, at first I thought this was some hoax, since it was obviously black and blue..

I have faith in that my monitor is at least more accurate than average..
I'm very slightly colorblind though.. Really dark greens and reds are hard for me to tell apart.

The argument as to what color it actually is, is not as interesting as to why and how it's being perceived differently..
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 01:45:07 am by Seiseki »

Offline PsylentKnight

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #29 on: February 28, 2015, 04:38:45 am
Maybe the current balance in the brain chemistry has an influence on it as well ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin#mediaviewer/File:NorepinephrineDopamineSerotonin.png ). Sugar, caffeine? The possibilities on what "could" have an influence on the perception seem limitless and these influences do not necessarily have to be found outside of the body in things like lighting conditions or differences in hardware and viewing angle. Even the current mood could probably influence what we see (but that is brain chemistry as well).

edit: Now that I wrote that about the sugar and the caffeine I remember one instance where sugar and caffeine and maybe even salt changed my perception and that of a friend. We had a LAN party a few years ago where we both drank many liters of cola (sugar and caffeine), ate french fries with too much salt (we had a silly competition going where we dared each other to take more salt). On the wall was a blue neon light and at some point I looked at the light and it was green(despite being actually blue) and I asked my friend whether he noticed anything different about the light and he said "yes, it is green".

Interesting thoughts. It could very well be your related to your state of mind as well. After it looking white and gold to me all day it looked black and blue just a few minutes ago. But when I intensely focused on trying to see the white and gold again, after a few seconds the white and gold came back. However, no matter how hard I try to see the black and blue I just can't force myself to see it again.

For me seeing black and blue seems to be correlated to being relaxed. Both times I've seen black and blue were late at night and not thinking too hard about the damn thing. (the first time I saw it and when I was flipping through the photos on my computer)

EDIT: Grammar. That was a mess.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 05:58:33 am by PsylentKnight »
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Offline Parkerbaby

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #30 on: February 28, 2015, 06:46:36 am
I first saw the image with two other people, on the same monitor. They saw it as white and gold, and I saw it as blue and black. We all saw it very clearly, and could not imagine the other seeing the color.

Then I later showed one of them a picture of the actual dress (the roman royal blue one on amazon) and after that she could only see the blue and black so clearly, she thought it couldn't be the same issue. The other guy's view of it did not change.

After reading about it and seeing it more, I still see blue, but I see it as a very washed out picture. I can easily see the gold they are talking about.

Something about the subconscious thoughts on different light contexts. The picture is garbage as far as colors, so you must subconsciously make a decision about what to 'correct' to get the true colors of the object photographed, correcting for the quality/over-exposure.

Offline Ambivorous

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #31 on: February 28, 2015, 10:33:50 am
Late to the party, but I figured I'd help out with seeing the blue and black for you guys.

I was speaking to a friend about which he saw (he saw blue black and I white gold) and he mentioned something very interesting: he doesn't see shadows on white objects as being blue coloured when in the shade surrounded by sunlight. Of course, we all know this happens. Stick white in some shade outside during the day and it will go blue, but he doesn't see that and I had to explain it to him. Clearly his brain is just doing more correction than mine is. I see blue and I know that means white, but I've never been under the illusion that shadow is grey.

So my assumption (sorry) is that I simply cannot see blue black purely because my brain doesn't see a need to correct the image.
Which of course got me thinking, "Let me just mess with the colour balance!" and here we go:


I literally just took the blue-yellow slider and shoved it in both directions and this happened.

In both of these pictures I, unequivocally, see blue black (although I can still imagine white gold of course), because my brain is being forced to correct for colour in both.
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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #32 on: February 28, 2015, 02:00:21 pm
I know about blue tinted shadows, I add tons of blue when I draw stuff, but for me the blue is just too blue and with such a bright background how could it be so dark if it's white?

When I invert the image in photoshop it's very clearly gold and white, even though the colors haven't changed that much, but then the background is also darker..

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #33 on: February 28, 2015, 02:29:20 pm
Yeah looking at the super bright yellow background there was no way i was going to see it as white.

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Re: Lets talk about the dress

Reply #34 on: February 28, 2015, 02:50:04 pm
Finally I know what everyone's talking about - today I perceive it completely as blue + black too.  Very interesting optical illusion.  Yesterday I was all grumpy thinking everyone is crazy for not seeing it as if it's white and gold.